What are we running from?
The best part about running is that we are always running from something. We are all running from addiction, poor physical or mental health, the asshole we were yesterday, or the fear of what we will become if we stop running. I have yet to meet a runner that isn’t really running from something. If we all really think, we can come up with something.
So what am I running from? The man I am scared that I will become if I stop.
Plain and simple. I retired from the Marine Corps with a lot of emotional baggage. I don’t want to be the angry, fat, broken old man that so many other veterans become. I love the challenge of seeing how far I can push my body. I want to see what happens when I face challenges that I didn’t get a chance to take on during my service or the ones that I was too scared to tackle. I have lots of regrets about my service time, but I am running to get away from those regrets.
I am running to try to get away from the anger and hatred I have in my heart towards mankind as a whole. Believe it or not, when you see war, you see the absolute worst that mankind is, and you learn to hate them for the depravity that they inflict on each other. I want to love my fellow man, no matter who they are and what they look like. I want to be brothers with the homeless guy and the rich lady. The muslim, the Jew, the atheist, and the Christian…I want to show them that there is nothing more important than each other.
If I am expecting a change in this world, if WE are expecting a change in this world, then we have to start somewhere. We have to be the change. As Michael Jackson sang, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.”
In fact, it was noticed recently by one of my supervisors, that I was off. She sat me down, asked me how I was doing and I even admitted to her that I had thought about killing myself at least once this week. Her response was an immediate question of, “Have you stopped running?” I told her I hadn’t run in two weeks, and that I was too busy, despite the fact that Sept 4, 2020 I have my first 50k race. She got really upset with me, and made me promise that I would be back at the running aspect of my life. So yesterday my youngest asked me to go run with him, we busted out a quick 2 mile run and for the first time in weeks I felt like myself again.
You see, I am running from the dark side of me that wants to quit and give in to the final period in the book that is my life. Now let me stop and be very clear with you, I am NOT suicidal. I have everything in the world to live for, so please do not think this is a call for help. I, as a professional, know the signs and symptoms of a real suicidal ideation. I know that what I am feeling is just a low point, and that if I run, the hormones released by my brain act as a natural antidepressant. In a way, I am self medicating, but in a way that is healthy and what I plan to give to my clients as ways to beat depression.
Just keep moving forward, friends. Take a bit of advice from Dory, “Just keep swimming…”, No matter how things go, no matter how rough life gets, nor what it throws at you, please remember to put one foot in front of the other. If you need help, reach out to someone. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. Call and talk to someone. Heck, if you are really desperate for help feel free to contact me at my email address or through this forum. I will always answer the email.
The Page family have taken to running as a family more often lately. We recently parked our car at a little parking area and as a family made a 7 mile total run to the Beirut Memorial in Jacksonville, NC. A truly touching memorial to Marines and sailors that really just came in peace.
Jenny was fascinated by the wooden bridge that led from Camp Lejeune to the memorial, we have a thing about running on bridges that smell of wood. It has a very calming effect, and helps us to slow our heart rates. We smiled most of this run, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company.
I was especially proud of this young man, he kept a steady pace, didn’t complain, watched out for his little brother, and demonstrated descent running form. I believe that he is going to make a great runner in the future, even if his goal is to run no further than a 5k. He wants to try to get on the track team at college (his High School doesn’t offer this as a sport), and I believe that at an average pace of 7:00-8:30/mile he will make that with a little more effort.
Finally, I come to my youngest and my beautiful wife. They ran together the whole way, keeping each other motivated and laughing. Counting lizards along the path, looking for snakes, and just cracking each other up. I couldn’t be more proud of these two, to set great goals for themselves and then work on making those goals happen. Jenny is dead set on making the Asheville Marathon at the Historic Biltmore Estates in February, before we head off to the next part of our adventure together.
Alexander wants to work up to 10k races. He has his sights set on making a 10:00/mile pace for the 6.2 miles and is already starting to look for races to sign up for (with my money…hey kid, don’t you know my races aren’t cheap…I can’t afford both of us!)
If there is any doubt as to why I run, it is because of this beautiful woman. She is the best friend that I have ever had, and she is so good to put up with my immature antics. She often says that I am 42 going on 17. I drop so many innuendos and “adult” hints to her that she often accuses me of sexually harassing her…as she laughs about it all.
Thank you, Princess for always being beside me and pushing me to be the best me I can be. Thank you for helping me keep the fire alive to run away from the man that I don’t want to turn into.